• antidepressant;
  • bipolar disorder;
  • depression;
  • glutamate;
  • memantine;
  • mood stabilizer;
  • NMDA/AMPA/kainate;
  • riluzole

Abstract: There is increasing evidence from a variety of sources that mood disorders are associated with regional reductions in brain volume, as well as reductions in the number, size, and density of glia and neurons in discrete brain areas. Although the precise pathophysiology underlying these morphometric changes remains to be fully elucidated, the data suggest that severe mood disorders are associated with impairments of structural plasticity and cellular resilience. In this context, it is noteworthy that a growing body of data suggests that the glutamatergic system—which is known to play a major role in neuronal plasticity and cellular resilience—may be involved in the pathophysiology and treatment of mood disorders. Preclinical studies have shown that the glutamatergic system represents targets (often indirect) for the actions of antidepressants and mood stabilizers. There are a number of glutamatergic “plasticity enhancing” strategies that may be of considerable utility in the treatment of mood disorders. Among the most immediate ones are NMDA antagonists, inhibitors of glutamate-release agents, and AMPA potentiators; this research progress holds much promise for the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of severe, refractory mood disorders.